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    Asian American and Pacific Islanders Heritage Month: U.S. Navy Sailor Connects with Culture after Enlisting



    Story by Aaliyah Essex 

    U.S. Naval Support Activity Naples

    Naples, Italy--For some, enlisting in the U.S. military is an opportunity to show patriotism and serve the country. For Senior Chief Master-at-Arms Daniel Arnoudse, joining the U.S. Navy was a chance to connect with people of his nationality while serving.

    Born in Seoul, South Korea, he moved to the United States with his brother at the age of six after being adopted by an American family in 1989. Arnoudse is currently stationed at Naval Support Activity (NSA) Naples.

    “I did not have the traditional Asian upbringing,” said Arnoudse. “Growing up in Western Michigan, I wasn’t exposed to a lot of Asians or Asian Americans.”

    He added that growing up, he was not able to consider himself Asian American. Instead, he considered himself strictly American.

    Arnoudse credits the diversity of the Navy workforce for allowing him to experience parts of his nationality.

    “Joining the Navy exposed me to the Asian culture—like the food and the heritage,” he said. “Since the Navy is diverse, […] I was able to kind of reconnect to where I came from,” Arnoudse added.

    The first time he was connected with his culture of origin was after he met a shipmate of Samoan decent. His shipmate, and now friend, exposed him to Asian American and Pacific Islander practices. The fellow senior chief introduced him to a community of Samoans that showed him their native values.

    “They exposed me to the culture and being close,” said Arnoudse as he described the sense of unity and inclusion he felt.

    “Even though they aren’t blood, [it was] an atmosphere of being one family,” he mentioned.

    Arnoudse describes the family he had growing up, his (adopted) parents, as a family that gave him and his brother every opportunity to succeed in life.

    “They taught me family values and hard work, and that through hard work, you can succeed in anything you do. Applying that to the military and coming up through the ranks to the position that I am at now, to me, is a great accomplishment,” said Arnoudse.

    Arnoudse described the journey that brought him to where he is now, starting with his first few months in the United States.

    “When we first got here it was a huge adjustment,” said Arnoudse as he spoke about the language barrier and the cultural differences. Arnoudse learned English three months after moving to the United States.

    After graduating from high school and attending Grand Rapids Community College, Arnoudse joined the U.S. Navy in February 2003 as a way to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps.

    “I always wanted to join the Navy,” said Arnoudse, “My grandfather was in the Navy from 1942-1945,” he said.

    Arnoudse added that being able to serve in the Navy has enabled him to experience more diversity and additional cultures.

    “Serving in the Navy to me is an opportunity to give back to a country that has given me so much opportunity. Being in the Navy forced me to get out of my comfort zone and do stuff that I wouldn’t normally envision myself doing. Seeing different cultures and countries, […] surrounding myself with a diverse background, it made me a better person overall” said Arnoudse.

    The Michigan native is described as an outstanding and fair leader.
    “MACS Arnoudse leads by example in showing great attention to detail on his daily tasks, which his Sailors emulate,” said NSA Naples’ Security Officer Lt. Cmdr Alexander Lamis. “Sailors also see that he puts in the time with them to complete a task and that he is available to them,” said Lamis.

    With his commended leadership skills, Arnoudse represents “Advancing Leaders Through Collaboration,” the theme of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month for 2022.

    The observance runs through the month of May to pay tribute to the service and contributions Asian and Pacific Islander have made to the United States.

    NSA Naples is an operational ashore base that enables U.S., allied, and partner nation forces to be where they are needed, when they are needed to ensure security and stability in the European, African, and Central Command areas of responsibility.

    For more news on NSA Naples, please follow us on Instagram @NSANaples and Facebook at



    Date Taken: 05.26.2022
    Date Posted: 05.26.2022 02:39
    Story ID: 421559
    Location: NAPLES, IT 
    Hometown: GRAND RAPIDS, MI, US

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